Teddy Bear enthusiasts were disappointed last week with the news that Build-A-Bear could be closing up to 30 stores this year.
One organization, on the other hand, is not shedding any tears.
BEAR, Bear Eugenics Are Rong, has been an outspoken critic of Build-A-Bear for years, citing what it sees as a slippery slope in the toy industry.
Pete Pann, spokesperson for BEAR, sees the Build-A-Bear closings as a blow to eugenics.
“The whole concept of the business is frightening,” Pann said. “How far away is Build-A-Bear from, let’s say, Build-A-Baby?”
“If every customer wants his or her teddy bear to have blonde hair and blue eyes, what happens to all the other teddy bears? The teddy bear with red hair, or the teddy bear with ectrodactyly?”
Pann continued, “We’re wiping out so many teddy bears that will never know what it’s like to exist.”
Not everyone agrees.
Angela Ruthers, a Build-A-Bear employee in St. Louis, Missouri, is not excited about losing her job.
“I’ve been building bears since 2011,” Ruthers said. “It’s how I pay my bills.”
“These are teddy bears we’re talking about here,” Ruthers added, “they’re not real people.”
Pann said that he won’t rest until Build-A-Bear closes all its stores.
“It’s a great first step,” Pann said, “but we owe it to ourselves as a society to wipe out teddy bear eugenics for good. Every teddy bear life is precious.”